The former commander of the Bosnian Serb army, Ratko Mladić, has been found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, and sentenced to life in prison.
Mladić was convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia of crimes committed against Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s. The tribunal declared that the crimes he committed were “among the most heinous known to humankind”.
Trials of former high-ranking war criminals are often peppered with drama, and this week’s verdict announcement was no exception. Disruption of trials is a way for previously powerful people – usually men – to reclaim some of their lost power.
Halfway through the verdict summary announcement, Mladić requested a break. After a lengthy break, the court was informed that Mladić had high blood pressure, but on medical advice, deemed it appropriate to continue. At this point, Mladić refused to sit and began shouting at the judges: “this is a lie” and “shame on you”.
He was thrown out of court, and watched the rest of the proceedings from another room. This unfortunately meant that victims were unable to see his reaction to the long-awaited verdict and sentencing.
Long road to justice
First indicted by the Tribunal in 1995, Mladić stayed in military resorts, protected even though a fugitive. He later went into hiding until his arrest in Serbia in 2011. Mladić’s trial began in 2012, concluded in 2016, with the verdict delivered on November 22.
Mladić, who came to be known as the “Butcher of Bosnia”, rose through the ranks to become the commander of the Bosnian Serb army in 1992, participating in atrocities committed under Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević’s regime. Milošević was also tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, but died before he could be convicted.
Mladić played a leadership role in these atrocities, commanding the army as it committed crimes across the regime. He has been convicted of “Joint Criminal Enterprise” – the international equivalent of conspiracy – alongside other leaders such as Milošević and Bosnian Serb politician Radovan Karadžić. The tribunal found that Mladić was instrumental in the crimes and they would not have taken place without his involvement.
The atrocities included the siege of Sarajevo, which lasted for 44 months from 1992-95. Some 10,000 people died during the siege, including many children. Some of Mladić’s other crimes were committed at internment camps such as Omarska and Foča, where thousands were tortured and raped. He has also been held responsible for the kidnapping of UN peacekeepers in order to leverage NATO to stop air strikes.
Convicting the high-ranking Mladić is symbolic and momentous, as he was the commander of the soldiers who carried out these actions.
Perhaps most significant is the conviction for genocide over mass killings at Srebrenica in July 1995. Some 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed and buried in mass graves. Identification of remains is ongoing, with thousands of bones and personal belongings still being analysed in hope of a match for families that continue to seek the whereabouts of loved ones. Identification is hampered by the fact that two months after the killings, bodies were moved to alternative mass grave locations.
A welcome day for survivors
The many survivors have waited a long time justice, both for themselves and for their lost loved ones. Some victims travelled to The Hague to hear the verdict first hand.
It is particularly poignant, given that some of the war criminals convicted by the tribunal have already served their sentences and returned to Serbia and Bosnia, now living in communities with their victims. A life sentence for Mladić is a source of satisfaction to the victims; a minimum justice for their suffering and loss.
Legal consequences of this ruling are also substantial. Proving genocide in court is challenging for prosecutors, with the requirement of a “special intent” to eliminate part or whole of a specific population. Convictions for genocide are rare; only a handful of convicted perpetrators at the ICTY were found guilty of genocide, including Karadžić and Radislav Krstić, a deputy commander in the Bosnian Serb army.
The confirmation that the Srebrenica massacre was indeed a genocide is important, because many Bosnian Serbs continue to deny the fact. Victims hope the ruling will contribute to a broader acknowledgement, which in turn could help the reconciliation process.
Yet others have little hope that the ruling will change things. Srebrenica’s Serb mayor Mladen Grujičić still denies the genocide, and many Serbian nationalists still laud Mladić and his fellow war criminals as heroes.
Mladić was found not guilty of one count of genocide, in reference to a broader spate of killings throughout Bosnia. This is in keeping with previous decisions, where Srebrenica has been deemed genocide, but the overall objective of the leadership for the whole of the Yugoslav territory has not.
This verdict is the final judgement to be delivered by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, slated to close at the end of this year. Since it was established in 1993, the tribunal has indicted 161 individuals and convicted 84 perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
Some 4,650 witnesses have appeared, more than 1,000 of whom testified about the Srebrenica genocide. There are only seven proceedings remaining, with the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals finalising cases. The tribunal has undoubtedly contributed to justice and reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia.
However, success has not been absolute, with criticism that sentences have been too short. There is also inevitable post-atrocity denial of crimes committed by perpetrators and their communities, with continued rejection by Serbian communities and politicians of the validity and decisions of the Tribunal.
These 84 convictions are clearly only a small proportion of the thousands of perpetrators. With the wind-up of the tribunal, remaining perpetrators will continue to be tried at local war crimes courts in Bosnia.
Throughout Europe, 14 countries have housed convicted tribunal war criminals in their prisons. Mladić will serve his sentence in a country yet to be determined.
While it may not bring their loved ones back, survivors can have some comfort in knowing the man who ordered and oversaw the atrocities will spend the rest of his life in prison.
As mobile phone users, all we want is enough battery life to last the day. Frustratingly, the older the device, the less power it seems to have.
In fact, the amount of battery life our mobiles have on any given day depends on two key factors: how we use them on that particular day, and how we used them in the past.
Mobile phones use lithium-ion batteries for energy storage. In this type of battery, lithium metal and lithium ions move in and out of individual electrodes, causing them to physically expand and contract.
Read more: Do you know where your batteries come from?
Unfortunately, these processes are not completely reversible and the batteries lose their charge capacity and voltage as the number of charge and discharge cycles grows.
To make matters worse, the electrolyte (electrically conductive liquid) that connects the electrodes also degrades throughout these cycles.
The ability of lithium-ion batteries to store charge depends on the extent of their degradation. This means there is a link between how we handle our devices today and the charge capacity available in the future.
Through a few simple steps, users can minimise this degradation and extend their device’s life.
Strategies for extending battery capacity
Control battery discharge
Typical lithium-ion batteries for mobile phones are supposed to retain 80% of their charge capacity after 300-500 charge/discharge cycles. However, batteries rarely produce this level of performance, with charge storage capacity sometimes reduced to 80% levels within only 100 cycles.
Fortunately, we can extend our future battery capacity by limiting how much we discharge our mobile phone batteries. With most battery degradation occurring during deep discharge/charge cycles, it is actually better to limit the battery discharge during any one cycle before charging it again.
As it happens, our devices do have battery-management systems, which reduce damage from overcharging and shut down automatically if the battery gets too low.
Nonetheless, to maximise the battery capacity in the future we should avoid that 0% battery mark altogether, while also keeping those batteries at least partially charged if storing them for a prolonged period of time to avoid deep discharge.
Extend charging times
Many of today’s mobile devices have a fast charge option that enables users to supercharge them in minutes rather than hours. This is convenient when we’re in a rush, but should be avoided otherwise.
Why? Because charging a battery too quickly reduces its storage capacity.
Physically, the shuttling of lithium metal and lithium ions between the electrodes in lithium-ion batteries is a slow process. Therefore, charging at lower rates allows more complete shuttling to occur, which enhances the battery’s charge capacity.
For example, charging a phone in five minutes compared with the standard two hours can reduce the battery capacity for that charge cycle by more than 20%.
Keep the temperature just right
Fortunately, for most parts of the country, temperatures in Australia sit between 0℃ and 45℃ throughout the year. This is the exact range in which lithium-ion batteries can be stored to maintain optimal long-term charge capacity.
Below 0℃, the amount of power available within the battery system is reduced because of a restriction in the movement of lithium metal and lithium ions within the electrodes and through the electrolyte.
Above 45℃, the amount of power available is actually enhanced compared with lower temperatures, so you can get a little more “juice” from your battery under hotter conditions. However, at these temperatures the degradation of the battery is also greatly accelerated, so over an extended period of time its ability to store charge will be reduced.
As a result, phones should be kept out of direct sunlight for prolonged periods, especially in summer when surface temperatures can increase to above 70℃.
Use battery-saving modes
Aaron Carroll and Gernot Heiser from Data61 analysed the power consumption of different smartphone components under a range of typical scenarios.
They concluded there are a handful of simple software and hardware strategies that can be used to preserve battery life.
Reduce screen brightness. The easiest way to conserve battery life while maintaining full function is to reduce the brightness of the screen. For devices such as mobile phones that have an organic light emitting diode (OLED) display, you can also use the “light on dark” option for viewing.
Turn off the cellular network or limit talk time. The connection to the cellular network uses the global system for mobile communication (GSM) module. The GSM is the most dominant energy-consuming component in a mobile phone, so it is beneficial to turn it off altogether or at least limit call time.
Use Wi-Fi, not 4G. With Wi-Fi being up to 40% less power-hungry than 4G for internet browsing, turning off cellular data and using Wi-Fi instead will help your battery life.
Limit video content. Video processing is one of the most power-consuming operations on a mobile device.
Turn on smart battery modes. All modern mobile devices have a smart battery saving mode (for instance, Android has Power Saving Mode and iOS has Low Power Mode). These software features modify central processing unit (CPU) usage for different apps, screen brightness, notifications and various hardware options to reduce energy consumption.
Use Airplane mode. This mode typically disables GSM, Wi-Fi, bluetooth and GPS functions on your devices. When turning off all such auxiliary functions, the device will use only up to 5% of its usual energy consumption with the screen off. For comparison, simply having your device in idle can still use more than 15%.
Enhancing your phone’s battery usability requires a combination of limiting the use of power-hungry hardware and software, as well as handling mobile devices so as to maximise the charge capacity and minimise battery degradation.
By adopting these simple strategies, users can extend their battery life by more than 40% in any given day while maintaining a more consistent battery capacity throughout the lifetime of the device.
The links below are to three articles dealing with real life on the mission field – well worth a read.
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The link below is to an article that takes a look at life with cancer from a Christian standpoint.
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The link below is to an article reporting on a disturbing story from Saudi Arabia, which gives a glimpse of life for Saudi princesses and women.
The link below is to an article that reports on the latest news concerning Mark Driscoll and various issues concerning his ministry at Mars Hill Church in Seattle.
With the introduction of iOS 7, Apple added a ton of new and exciting features to your iPhone. However, in order to show off all of these new features, Apple has decided to turn them on: all of them. There’s an opt-out method (of sorts) when it comes to their use, but depending on the age of the device, this can decrease both performance and battery life. The problem most users are encountering is that they don’t know how to selectively opt-out of the features they do not use.
The following will outline how you can fine tune your iOS 7 experience, taking advantage of the features you like and turning off the features you don’t. In the end, you may find that you won’t need to charge your iPhone quite as often.
Settings with the biggest impact
Dim the brightness setting: If you think that iOS 7’s…
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